Shadow Mountain High School has completely dominated the state of Arizona's basketball opposition for numerous years now, and this up-and-coming high school basketball season will, not only, be much of the same, but this season the Matadors will have their most loaded team of all.
Rather than focus on simply another state championship this high school season, Shadow Mountain will be on completely another level, as they set their sights on a national championship.
Last season's Shadow Mountain (27-1) ballclub finished with a perfect season in Arizona, before traveling to New York at the end of the season to face top-ranked Montverde (FL) at Christ the King High School in the opening round of the Dick's Sporting Goods National Championship high school boy's basketball tournament - a game that was featured on ESPN. Shadow Mountain would fall to Montverde 74-61, while being without the services of star guard Jaelen House (AIA suspension).
While Shadow Mountain was the only public school in the eight-team field, they would come up just short of beating a huge Montverde team that consistently competes for national titles, and featured numerous future Division-I college players, including the nation's top prospect in now junior wing R.J. Barrett. Rather than sulk over the loss, the Shadow Mountain program and coaching staff went back to the lab and has returned this high school season committed to returning to the national tournament and winning it all.
Shadow Mountain has become accustomed to producing high-level college talent, as the program has recently produced Carlos Johnson (University of Washington), Michael Bibby Jr. (Appalachian State via South Florida), Craig Randall (Duquesne via Memphis), Marcus Shaver (University of Portland), and JJ Rhymes (Hutchinson JC), who helped his juco program win a Junior College national championship last season. This high school season, the Matadors will feature one of the most talented teams in the country.
Junior guards, Jaelen House and Jovan Blacksher (pictured) are both back to lead this year's talented group. Now a year older, House and Blacksher absolutely had their way with the state's competition last season, so this year should prove to be even easier for this gifted duo. Both guard prospects are absolutely special talents for the future, and are both as good of guard prospects as there are in the state right now. These two young men have been almost unguardable for opposing guards in Arizona and play with superior confidence.
House is the son for former NBA star guard Eddie House, and is among the elite prospects in Arizona's 2019 class. House is an electric guard prospect with a lot in his bag of tricks - capable of putting on a show with the basketball in his hands. House is a load to defend defensively, and makes his defenders feel humbled for having to guard him on the floor. He has excellent command presence on the basketball court, and is a sure-fire scorer that can score at any time on the basketball court.
Blacksher is also a unique talent for the state of Arizona - a highly skilled and talented point guard with an ability to make plays for himself and others almost at will and with flare. This young man is fun to watch perform as he possesses a superb handle of the basketball, excellent court vision and body control, which allows for him to get into the lane when he wants to and make plays at a high level level. He also possesses a nice shooting stroke with excellent range on his shot and a quick release - making him very difficult for opposing guards to defend.
This dynamic backcourt duo won't be relied on so heavily this high school season, as they will be strongly supported by a loading supporting cast of players that includes 6-foot-3 junior guard Jalen Williams and 6-foot-5 gifted sophomore wing Shemar Morrow. While there are definitely other loaded teams in the state this high school season, no other team in this state features as much talent as this year's Shadow Mountain group.
Shadow is coming off their first scrimmage this week against Horizon High School - a scrimmage which they won by more than 70 points! This week's scrimmage was a preview for how it will look again this high school in the state's 4A Division. Shadow did not lose to an Arizona high school team last season, and will not lose to an Arizona high school team again this season.
Shadow Mountain will look to win their third state title in 4 years this high school season - very similar to the dominating performance turned in by Corona Del Sol in their state title runs before losing superstar Marvin Bagley (Duke) to a transfer.
The Shadow Mountain players and head coach Mike Bibby and his staff will not be playing against Arizona competition this high school season, but rather playing for something much bigger - a national championship. They will need to remain very focused this season, and not get bored by blowing out their opponents each night. They are our best chance of bringing more exposure to the state of Arizona's high school basketball scene, and we need to support what they are doing. It is a very rare team that we will ever see in this state.
Shadow Mountain will open up their 2017-2018 high school basketball season with a road game against Tempe High School on Tuesday, 11/28.
Here is a highlight video by the best in the business, AZ Finest Mixtape, of Shadow Mountain's performance this week in their scrimmage against Horizon HS. This video tells it all . . .